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Author Elmore Leonard Dead at 87

Author Elmore Leonard in Los Angeles, 2007 (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
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Novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard died this morning following a stroke. He was 87. His website reports the author "passed away this morning at 7:15 AM at home surrounded by his loving family."

The veteran scribe had been hospitalized earlier this month following the stroke, which Leonard suffered in late July.

New Orleans born, the crime writer called Detroit home since 1934. He got his start writing in advertising, but quit in 1961 to pursue fiction. Leonard first wrote Westerns, then shifted to crime and suspense, the genre he became best-known for. His 40th novel was published in 2005. Leonard penned a number of famous books, including "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight," "Hombre," "Mr. Majestyk" and "Rum Punch" (which many know as the film "Jackie Brown"). Nicknamed the "Dickens of Detroit" for his portrayal of local folk, Leonard's work was prime fodder for Hollywood storytelling; 26 of Leonard's novels and short stories have been adapted for the screen—19 as movies and seven for TV.

Leonard was known to eschew the conventions of grammar in favor of a looser, plot-moving style. In 2001 he shared his "rules" for writing in the New York Times, noting: "If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules."

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A scene from "Get Shorty" (language NSFW):